Welcome to my site: It’s part blog, part repository for my adventures in media.
So here are a few notes from my presentation at last week’s South West Communications Networking Event co-ordinated by Clare, Gill and Savannah from Arts Council England.
Your first thought might be of using film as a promo/trailer, to reveal what happens behind the scenes* / to show process, for audience vox pops or as documentation for funders but moving image is also a key tool for fundraising, for artist dialogue and collaboration, to live stream your events, broaden your audience, and, as Savannah pointed out in the morning session, for advocacy.
Before commissioning a video first ask yourself:
1. Why you want to use film…it is without doubt one of the most powerful methods of communication that we have, it is exciting and dynamic and research shows that films embedded into a site encourage the visitor to spend longer on the page. However, it’s not a silver bullet. Use it as part of your marketing mix and time its release as part of your marketing campaign.
2. What it is that you want to say… people can get excited when they see a short film being made. They can start to attach all kinds of agendas to it, which can often result in a muddied message plus more filming and more expense (see below for involving others in the production process) so be clear about its purpose.
3. Determine who is your target audience – what drives them to make a decision / what excites them about your venue or your artform / what platforms are you going to use to reach them? Vimeo looks much nicer embedded, uses less bandwidth when watching (much better for rural areas with low internet speeds) and, critics say, has better stats but Youtube has way more traffic (now viewed as the second largest search engine after Google), is more familiar for a large part of the Internet community, contributes to your SEO and offers some nice features if you get accepted onto their NonProfit programme (and while you’re about it apply for a Google Grant – adwords for non-profits).
4. What is your USP?
- Content is king and you have it in spades. What your organisation does is fascinating, inspiring and educational. Your goal should be to create videos that are helpful, valuable and compelling to your prospects and clients.
- Make the opening compelling. The first 15 seconds is key.
- Remember quality not quantity – some of our videos only get 25 views and that’s fine as it was often uploaded for the workshop participants and their families to watch. It reached our intended audience. Others have 25,000+ views because their appeal is broader. The question you have to answer is: are views turning into ticket sales / donations / supporters?
- Hire a professional (get in touch with Somerset Film if you’d like to discuss a commission, it’s what we do. You can see examples of our work here). Can the filmmaker offer you the production values that match your brand? Watch a showreel of their work. Write a clear brief based on the above and appoint an internal producer – someone who has the authority to sign off the final edit. If you need to involve others in the process do it at the brief writing stage and again at the rough cut. Leave it too late and you risk re-shoots and more editing.
- Don’t forget the second A in AIDA – Add calls to action to your films. What do you want your viewer to do the minute the film ends?
- Show me, don’t tell me. A picture paints a thousand words…
- Keep it short.
Getting more traffic to your films:
Upload, embed, share and link to it… put it on your website, piggyback onto another site with lots of traffic, put it on your blog, on Facebook, submit to Stumbleupon, email links to subscribers and tweet it. Make sure to include a simple call to action, ask your friends and subscribers to share the video with their friends for that extra boost, to ‘like’ it or leave a comment. *Or why not use the tools in Youtube Video Manager and restrict access to just your subscribers / members?
Improve your SEO. Make sure you use keywords (searchable terms) in your titles, descriptions and tags. (use this to research keywords or just ask a friend to search for your latest film – what they type in the search box can be really revealing) Include a recurring keyword tagline about your business/organisation. If you’re using Youtube the first 160 characters of your description really count. That’s what gets seen. Make sure the first part is your web address or a link for booking etc (don’t forget the http:// – this will make it an active link).
Creating paid-for content:
In the future you may decide to archive some of your performances / workshops and want to make them available for download for a small fee. Check out some of these providers: Pulley for digital downloads, Distrify for paid for content and coming soon: Vimeo On Demand.
Some of the above has been taken from the Youtube Creator Playbook, which is well worth a download and Social Media Examiner, which I would recommend as a useful source for information all things social media and general Googling. Above all, don’t be afraid to try things out. Technology and platforms change rapidly. Everyone is learning as they go along.
I think that’s about everything. The conversations that took place during lunch (data geeks unite / where’s the cake…) were really interesting and it was great to meet so many people passionate about what they do. If you are interested in learning more about filmmaking download our brochure here. Hope to see you all again.